office closed | dec 24 - jan 4
From Our CEO: Welcome to the New Season 2017-18
Tomorrow, about 125,000 children will take to the soccer fields of eastern Pennsylvania for the start of the new season. Many of you have been training for weeks and maybe played a tournament or two, but league play opens on Saturday. Almost everyone will kick off at some time tomorrow.
I’d like to start with a word of thanks to all of the parents, coaches and administrators who devote their time and efforts on behalf of the children. Regardless of soccer being your vocation or your hobby, I’m well aware of the work all of you put into preparing for each season. It began long before the first day of training and most likely in an office or conference room, not on a field. There’s still work to do, but thank you for everything to date.
Foremost in my thoughts are our players. I wish the best of luck to all of the children, and hope for a healthy and happy season for each of them. Without the children, what do have? I want to remind everyone that each child has the right to play and learn in a safe environment. They should be encouraged to explore and grow in the same fashion they would in school. Playing soccer, no matter what the level, must be an enjoyable experience. Here's a simple goal for all of the adults: to provide an experience where every child wants to play again next season.
Let’s not forget to support our referees, too. Our referees are your friends, neighbors, co-workers and quite often our own children or their friends. They do their best each time out to ensure the safety of the players. Like the players, they are performing on a large stage and are often unfairly scrutinized for their efforts. Referees are committed to officiating games in a safe manner to ensure player and spectator enjoyment. It’s unfortunate but true: the number of referees has declined in recent years primarily due to poor sideline behavior.
To that end, I’d like to offer two simple suggestions. First, engage in our Fair Play and Respect program. It’s quite simple: always remember that the children are watching and listening. Let’s be better role models to the kids and each other. As players, coaches, team parents or club members, we all must be diligent to curb, if not eliminate, the negative language. Starting this season, over 30 clubs joined in support and will be wearing our Fair Play or Respect patches on their uniforms. The patches are free, and we will provide them to any team or club. Signs and banner templates will be available on our website with positive messaging and reminders you can place at your fields as well. I ask that clubs take an active role in promoting this message.
The second suggestion is to engage with our staff and take advantage of various member benefits, like coaching education. First-time coaches or veterans can expand their knowledge and capabilities through the many resources we can provide. Our staff, in conjunction with U.S. Soccer, has prepared curriculums for a whole season and daily practice plans, all available at epysa.org. Of course there are also the U.S. Soccer courses or our state certificate program. Better coaching is a sure path to happier, healthier and better skilled players.
I believe in the game and the positive force it can be in our communities and in the lives of our kids. I know that everyone will do their best to not just maintain that reputation, but improve on it. Celebrate the game and the children playing. Enjoy your time with the children and your families.
On behalf of our 125,000 players, and over 20,000 coaches thank you and best of luck to all!
Chief Executive Officer
Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer